What’s In A Name? – The Astounding Footprint of Aphra Crayford (1587-1662)

Aphra Crayford is hard to spot in a plethora of deeds, wills, land titles and political disputes, but she’s still very much in the picture.

She was married at the age of twenty two and settled with her husband in Ireland where she raised a large family. She saw the transfer of the British throne from monarch to monarch to parliament to monarch again. She saw skirmishes and outright rebellion in Ireland through all of her married life, and she witnessed – from a distance – the end of her family’s influence in Kent.

It was a time of immense change, and what a shame we don’t have it in Aphra’s own words. What were her thoughts on the annihilation of the world order as she once knew it? Did she have fears for her children’s future? Did they feel safe? Did they feel helpless?

Aphra herself – and her children – can be found scattered through the genealogical records, rarely connected together. Not much remains from that time and the families travelled extensively which doesn’t help.

This post is about what I know so far.

Aphra’s birthplace; Great Mongeham, Kent

THE CRAYFORD-HOUSE, alias STONEHALL, was a mansion situated at a small distance westward of the church … this mansion, for many descents, was the property and residence of the family of Crayford, whose estates in this neighbourhood were very considerable. In the year 1460 at the battle of Northampton, fighting on behalf of the then victorious house of York, mention is made of William Crayford, Esq. who was then made knight-banneret by King Edward IV for his eminent services performed there and at different times before … from this Sir William Crayford, knight-banneret, this seat and estate descended down to William Crayford, Esq. of Great Mongeham, who died possessed of it in Charles II.’s reign, and seems to have been the last of this family who resided here.

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.

The story of Stonehall at Great Mongeham is a story of influence, power and wealth.

The house no longer exists. We don’t actually know what it looked like, but chance references imply that it was large with extensive grounds. The family played their part in the support of their King – or Queen at the time of Aphra’s birth – and were rewarded or punished accordingly, as per the times.

This was a family with a long proud history, something Aphra was no doubt taught from a very young age. At the time of that first Sir William’s conferral of honours they were already associating with Edward IV. They can trace their lineage on some sides back to the Norman conquest, a point of great pride in that time period. Not perhaps on the Crayford side, but even if it was a maternal line it still counted. They were very clearly Important.

Aphra’s parents were Sir William Crayford (a later namesake of the original) and his wife Anne Norton whose lineage was as illustrious as her husband’s. They parented nine children; four sons and five daughters. Aphra was child number eight, the youngest girl. Her brother Robert was born a year later. (NOTE: Some family trees have two more children in this family after Robert – John and Richard.)

The Early Years

Aphra’s childhood was relatively calm. Events were far away and Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne, followed by James I in the year that Aphra turned sixteen. Life for Aphra was probably focused on domestic matters. The marriage of her eldest brother Edward to Anne Hayward. The marriage of her eldest sister Anne to John Warren. The birth of nephews and nieces.

In 1609, Aphra married Thomas Maunsell.

Unknown wedding couple painted 1610 – an example of fashions of the time.

Thomas was thirty two years old and like the Crayfords, he could trace his lineage back to the Norman conquest through maternal lines. His family came from Buckinghamshire where they held a respectable amount of property.

But Thomas was a younger son, so his inheritance was a small plot of land with a good house. Nothing shabby, but very obscure.

A younger son marrying a younger daughter – a good solid match, but not advantageous to either. Aphra came with a dowry, but after all she was the eighth child. She didn’t bring land or title.

They had a bit to set them up, but they had to use it wisely.

There’s nothing to say how they made their decisions. Nothing to suggest they put their heads together and came up with a plan. But there’s plenty to suggest that Aphra was respected by her family for generations to come, so I think that’s what they did. Thomas may have suggested – and Aphra in conjunction with her father may have agreed – that Ireland was the land of opportunity.

At 32 years of age, Thomas Maunsell was retiring from a successful naval career. As his reward for services rendered he was granted the right to claim land in Ireland.

Ireland never was a truly safe place for a British settler, and in 1609 the British in charge were hard at work maintaining the tenuous law and order that they had. They were deeply suspicious of adventurers who might be there to stir up discontent, who might be spies for the wrong side – be that France or England or Scotland or the New Irish or the Old Irish.

Thomas Maunsell received letters of authorization which were copied and sent to all outposts and naval vessels. He clearly had this in his possession already at the time of marriage.

Here’s an excerpt from ‘The History of Maunsell’ by Robert George Maunsell. I’ve tidied it up for readability.

Thomas Maunsell, born 1577; matriculated. Mag. Hall, 1594, as a youth he distinguished himself against the Spanish Armada, and was subsequently a Captain in the Fleet. In the college books he is described as Thomas Maunsell, of Chicheley, Bucks, gent, late of Barnard's Inn; admitted 1599 to Gray's Inn. He retired from the naval service in 1609, and on 28th July of that year, as per order of Council, the Irish authorities received a command as follows: — 

"Whereas this gent, Captain Thomas Maunsell, is come into this Kingdom .. to take a view of the most convenient places for him to settle in .. to which end he has brought unto us letters of recommendation. These are therefore, to require every of you his Maties Officers, Mynisters, not only to permit the said Captain abovenamed with his servants peaceably and quietly to pass by you as he shall have occasion to search and enquire as aforesaid, but also to be aiding, comporting and assisting unto him with post horses and guides from place to place in his travels, and if need require, to give him the best knowledge and furtherance you may .. whereof you and every of you may not fail, as you will answer the contrary at your perils. Given at Melefont, this 28th July, 1609."

Thomas Maunsell sold the estate at Newport-Pagnell left him by his father's will, and sailing for Ireland he landed at Waterford and settled at Derryvillane in the county of Cork. 

The next stage of Aphra’s life is a matter of reading between the lines. According to the History of Maunsell, Thomas and Aphra had 23 children, of whom eleven lived to adulthood.

Burke, on the other hand, makes a very succinct reference in his Peerage books.

[The third son] Thomas, went to Ireland in 1609, and settled at Derryvolane, county Cork. He married Aphra, daughter of Sir William Crawford and dying about 1642 left, with other issue, Thomas, ancestor of the Maunsells of Limerick, and a son John.

Is one woman capable of producing 23 children, especially when she starts in her twenties? I’m guessing she didn’t.

In my own tree I have eleven named children:

And thus began the dynasty of Maunsell in Ireland. One of their sons – Thomas – is recorded as a 1649er who received extensive amounts of land after Cromwell’s victory.

To this point I’ve kept it all very simple, but anyone who has researched 17th Century Ireland knows that it isn’t. The records aren’t there. People moved all over the place. People moved away and came back ten years later. And you rarely find yourself dealing with just a nuclear family – if a family actually did build themselves a decent manor house, secured property and a steady income, all the extended family came over too.

As well as that, the kids married the neighbours. And their kids married other neighbours. It gets very messy to separate from family from another.

Plus there’s a third complication that people once didn’t understand: the various new colonies of the world were all peopled by the same important wealthy families. You have the same Warner family in Cork and Barbados, Benger and Nason in Waterford and Newfoundland and Philadelphia, French and Cole in Waterford and Maryland, Peard in Cork and Massachussetts and Newfoundland. Spotswood in Waterford and Virginia. And so on and so forth.

Interconnections are everywhere and a generation on, everyone was doing well for themself and feeling a bit of a fraud because their forebears weren’t as swanky as the people they were now mixing with. People became cagey about their genealogy. They exerted effort convincing the world that their position in society was completely legitimate.

The descendants of Thomas and Aphra Maunsell are just as hard to track as all the rest, but we’ve got an amazing advantage: Aphra’s first name.

Here are the women named Aphra in my tree so far.

It took me way too long to realise that nearly all the women named Aphra in those parts of Ireland are descendants of Aphra Crayford. They generally appear in the records in a very disembodied way.

For example, from Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland 1912:

“JOHN BROWN, of Bridgetown (Clonboy), Capt. Limerick Militia, married 1801 to Constance, 2nd daughter of Colonel William Odell, of The Grove, co. Limerick (M.P. for co. Limerick for thirty years, and a Lord of the Treasury), by Aphra his wife, daughter of John Crone, of Byblow, co. Cork.”

In the above excerpt there’s no clue that Constance’s mother Aphra Crone was a descendant of Thomas Maunsell and Aphra Crayford. It took a lot of reading and searching to track her back. To find that Aphra Crone’s paternal grandmother was Aphra Johnson, and that she in turn was the granddaughter of Aphra Maunsell, eldest daughter of Aphra Crayford. That’s a lot of generations to track through. But the connection was there.

I’ve made it my project over the last six months – track all the Aphras to see if they belong to that family.

There’s just one exception so far: Aphra Warren, the daughter of Anne Crayford and John Warren. She’s our Aphra’s niece and she was born in England.

There are also three women who I’ve not managed to trace: Aphra Benger born circa 1675, Aphra Aylmer born circa 1670, and Aphra Gaggin/Goggin/Gookin born circa 1780. But those three are in the same neighbourhood. It’s probably just a matter of time until their connection is found.

You find family names like that in genealogical research. Family names meant something. That was understood. You didn’t just pick a name for your daughter because it was pretty, not when it was a Maunsell family name and the Maunsells were moneyed and connected. It would look like you were stating a relationship, lying about a connection that didn’t exist. Some first names are as much part of the family property as the surname.

I’m speculating regarding this specific name Aphra, but people did treat names that way and it’s very clear that nobody else used it. That name wasn’t like Mary or Sarah or Elizabeth, not names from the bible that anyone might use. Aphra was very specific to that family.

And every new Aphra harkened back to the very first. Aphra Crayford, matriarch of the Maunsells, and of branches of Eatons, Naylors, Peacocks, Boles and Bowles, Downings, Hodders … and all the rest of those surnames showing in my list of women named Aphra.

Late in life, Thomas Maunsell became sick. He and Aphra returned to England where he passed away in 1646. Or 1642 by some counts. This meant that they weren’t in Ireland for the Rebellion of 1641. Either very luckily, or by design, since their sons were military men who might have realised where matters were heading.

I’ll quote ‘The History of Maunsell’ to conclude:

“Mrs. Maunsell having survived her husband returned to Ireland, and resided with her third son, Captain John Maunsell, at Ballyvoreen, near Caherconlish. She died prior to 1662, and her remains were interred in the chancel of the church at Caherconlish, where her son erected the following memorial, bearing that date: —

Here lyeth the bodye of Aphra Maunsell, my dear mother, daughter of Sir Wm. Crayford, of Kent.

She wasn’t buried alone. The memorial continues.

Here also lyeth my dear wife, Mary Maunsell, daughter of Geo. Booth, Esq., of Cheshire. And of my sister, Aphra Peacock. And of her daughter, Anne Peacock.”

Aphra Crayford was my 11th great grandmother through her son Thomas, my 12th great grandmother through her daughter Anne and also through her daughter Catherine, and my 10th great grandmother through her son Boyle.

Reference List

Burke’s Landed Families of Ireland 1826

Burke’s Genealogical History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland 1912 – Digitized copy

The History of Maunsell by Robert Maunsell, Digitized

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Edward Hasted 1797 via Google books.

Baptism records Parish of Great Mongeham

Examination of Thomas Maunsell in the 1641 Depositions

Richard Peard – Adventurer or Gentleman?

Dean, Frank; On the Irish Coast; Leeds Museums and Galleries; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/on-the-irish-coast-37867

Just who was Richard Peard of 1600s Cork?

I have a decades long fascination for the British plantations in Ireland. I’ve read everything I could find about them – which actually isn’t much. Popularised accounts tend to be polarised or romanticised and I don’t have easy access to scholarly databases. I’d hoped to specialise in this region/area when I went to uni, but Australian universities have Australian history as a primary focus (of course) and no guest lecturer presented with early modern Ireland as their special subject.

Which means – I’m not a scholar in this field and this is simply a genealogist’s look at a historically dense, culturally rich, deeply empassioned decade that meant different things to just about everyone who was present – or not present.

That said, after a few decades I’ve gleaned a few details to help me track my British ancestors in Ireland.

Thomas Luny-A Frigate of the Royal Navy leaving Cork Harbour.jpg

I came back to Peard research quite by chance and realised my first ever trial blog post was regarding the Peard family, so it seems fitting to return to them for my first post directly from the new website. This is an update on the Peards as I understand them.

The oral tradition regarding Richard Peard

Here’s the family story:

Richard Peard was born around 1598 in Barnstaple, Devonshire into the family of the Barnstaple mayor. He married Richorde Cole and became the parent to two sons, Richard and Henry. He travelled to Ireland in Cromwell’s army and was given land at Castlelyons in return for his services for England. He is buried in some state there while his sons went on to found a dynasty and build the family mansion of Coole Abbey.

Here’s how the family story became established:

Back in the 1970s one Peard descendant was greatly inspired by the Peard story. She paid a professional researcher in Ireland who put together a tree going right back to that Cromwellian soldier Richard Peard. She later made her own visit to Ireland where she photographed the ancestral mansion and viewed various parish records. She wrote to all the Peards in the phone book and offered a photocopy of the tree in return for genealogical information regarding their branch of the family.

I have no intention of denigrating the efforts of that researcher. She achieved a great deal and through her enthusiasm she gave the whole Peard diaspora in Australia a renewed pride in their lineage. But along with good was some not so good. The researcher endorsed a system of ‘I’ll give you a detail if you give me one’ . She requested that other researchers delete their online comments and communicate with her by private message only. In effect – maybe without meaning to – she prevented any collaboration at all. And because the research was kept offline there was no peer review, and no way to know what sources had been examined.

I’m not sure if she is still alive and I have no idea what became of her collected data.

The present day

Modern Peard researchers have challenged this oral history with the help of newly digitized records and DNA. Others have blogged about this and shared their findings. This is my summary.

Where did Richard Peard come from?

A view of Castletownshend, Cork.

Richard Peard’s tomb exists in Ireland in the cemetery of Kill-St-Anne in Coole, Cork. I’m very grateful to Niall C.E.J. O’Brien for writing about the tomb and its wording (1). His version of the family story has three sons to the original Richard, namely Richard, Henry and William.

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien reports the tomb giving Richard’s native place as Upcott in Welcombe, Devonshire. On this tomb, the original Richard is recorded as ‘Ensign Richard Peard‘. Richard’s death date is given – 28th Feb 1683 – and some other Peards are referenced including ‘Richard Peard of Coole, gent, eldest son’ .

Another researcher (Staigfamily) has uploaded a research document to their website regarding Richard Peard (2). He/she questions Richard’s connection to the Barnstaple family citing the wording on the tomb. He/she also notes a coat of arms on the tomb being the same as that of the Peards of Devon and further refers to probate records for a family of Peard in Welcombe at the right time to be our Richard’s.

Looking through the records, Burke’s Peerage says that Richard Peard “is stated to be a younger branch of the Peards of Devonshire”. Burke also says that Richard Peard married a Miss Cole, daughter of Richard Cole Esquire.

Burke was careful to remove himself from those assertions. “Stated to be” rather than “Is”. This is what the family said. It may or may not be true.

The Barnstaple Peards were powerful. Barnstaple was a hub of international trade in the 1600s and the Peards were goldsmiths and merchants. They were educated and political. Burke could have stirred up a lot of trouble even a century or two later if he stated a relationship that didn’t actually exist, especially when the family in question were so well connected.

There’s also no certainly about “Miss Cole”. The original paid researcher located a marriage between a Richard Peard and Richorde Cole in West Downs in 1636. That could be them. There’s also a marriage in 1608 between a Richard Peard and Christiana Cole in Bristol. That’s a bit early, but without birth details for Richard we once again can’t be sure.

I also note that the surname ‘Coole’ can be found in Welcombe, Devon. Did our Ensign Richard Peard marry a “Miss Coole” and is this where the mansion got its name? I’m aware ‘Coole’ was already a location name in other parts of Ireland, but the mansion could still have been named for a person.

I further note that the surname ‘Coole’ is deemed by surname websites to be an Irish name in the first place. It’s possible that Ensign Richard met and married his wife in Ireland. That could be true whether she was Coole or Cole.

First conclusion:

It seems to me that Richard Peard died exactly when we were told he did, and that he really did come from Devonshire. Maybe not from Barnstaple, but from Devonshire. I think we can also accept that he had an eldest son named Richard which implies the existence of younger sons, otherwise they’d put ‘son’ or ‘only son’. So we do have something to work from here.

Was Ensign Richard a soldier?

It’s natural to start out in the army as an Ensign, but there are commissions to be bought and rewards for time served. Yet our Ensign Richard stayed at the bottom.

To explain my thoughts on this I need to summarise six hundred years in Ireland. Trust me, it’s relevant to the study of Richard Peard.

Propaganda or news? Published after the 1641 rebellion

Ireland has been contested ground for centuries. It wasn’t just England vs Ireland or Scandinavia vs Ireland. It was the ideal meeting ground for England vs Scotland, for France vs England, for Catholic England vs Protestant England. Ireland was geographically strategic. A lot of wars took place in Ireland that had little to do with the Irish people.

That helped nobody.

It was simpler for England to claim Ireland by colonising the place. As it were, to plant British cuckoos in the nest of Ireland. This is where the younger sons and the disenfranchised religious groups come in. Go to Ireland and establish an estate and it’s yours.

It was a feudal system at heart. Wealthy ambitious men received grants of land and took tenants of their own. By doing the hard work, the tenants could then receive their own reward. It might be a long lease, it might be land of their own. It might just be the protection of their sponsor against the displaced Irish rabble. The rewards trickled down from the highest rung of the hierarchy to the lowest.

England began plantations in Ireland in the time of Henry II, right back in the 12th century. Those inhabitants transformed into Irishmen and ceased to be loyal to England.

This happened again and again and again across the next few hundred years.

A major plantation was started in 1589 and that was the beginning of the famous trouble.

I used to think of plantations as a coherent crowd of settlers moving into a town and planting crops. Like you see in American westerns where the townspeople live safely in a fort, or like we had in Australia with the establishment of Sydney or Hobart Town. Houses going up, streets formed, soldiery patrolling the town borders.

It wasn’t like that at all, especially not in 1589. The designated leaders were given their powers and their prime land, and a list was compiled of all the land of the evicted Irish folk. When families arrived in Ireland – by boat – they were allocated their land and they went there. They moved into the Irish cottages and fenced and built their own and cleared fields and worked very very hard. But their neighbours weren’t other new settlers – their neighbours were the Irish rebels who hadn’t yet been evicted.

Those poor settlers moved into very hostile land without any protection at all. They couldn’t even set foot out of their gates to go visit their friends. They were trapped.

The 1589 plantation was a failure.

Another British monarch and another few decades later came the Ulster Plantation of 1610. That one was better managed. The Irish Lords were ousted. Britain gained its foothold.

The Irish Lords gathered strength in the lands that were still their own. It took a couple of decades.

And so we come to the Great Rebellion of 1641 when the Irish people fought back. They manged to reclaim a lot of territory. Not all – but a lot.

Reports filtering into England were terrifying. Complete annihilation of the British, hundreds of thousands slain, unspeakable atrocities. Today, historians think at least 4,000 British settlers were killed. There were atrocities committed on both sides. Like any war, there were acts of violence and acts of mercy.

Fighting continued for years.

Peacetime writeups rarely portray the true situation. It wasn’t a single finite piece of fighting that died away. There was one mammoth wave of destruction, and in its wake was sheer anarchy. Pillaging and burning and murdering went on for years. The strong Irish troops were getting even stronger and continuing to attack the British controlled cities.

The British survivors were stuck, especially the tenants. Suppose they went back to the safety of England?

They couldn’t. It was those British landlords who had sent them over in the first place. The British landlords were given this land by their king or queen, and their way of making it safe was to send their own labourers.

To return now meant facing the anger of those British landlords. It would be a considered a betrayal. Their landlord would deny them access, turn them away. They’d be homeless and considered faithless by all around.

They had to stay even if the Irish killed them, and wait for British troops to come and make everything sane again.

That’s where Cromwell enters the scene. He came over in 1649 to sort the whole mess out.

Oliver Cromwell

According to the family story, Richard Peard arrived with Cromwell.

That part of the story is definitely false. Richard Peard was already in Ireland before 1641. We know because he made the following deposition:

Richard Peard late of the Town & parish of Coole within the County of Cork husbandman (a British protestant) … saith that on or about the 6th of April last & since the beginning of this present rebellion in Ireland he lost was robbed and forceable despoiled of his goods & chattels .. worth 288 pound 10s. Of Cows heifers horses & swine at Coole aforesaid to the value of three score pounds ten shillings. Of household stuff one fowling piece & a rapier to the value of eight pounds. Of Corn in the haggard to the value of Twenty pounds.

The deponent saith that by means of this present rebellion in Ireland he is dispossessed of the several farms .. the lands of Ballyrice wherein he has a lease of eighteen years to come worth yearly above the Landlords rent eight pounds per annum having payed forty pounds for the same his interest in the said lease he values to be worth four score pounds. Of another lease of the lands of Ballynelly in the said County worth yearly to this deponent ten pounds for seven years yet to come which lease he values to be worth twenty pounds Of another farm in Coole wherin he has a lease of fifteen years to come worth above the landlords rent eighteen pounds per annum which lease he values to be worth before the beginning of this rebellion the sum of one hundred pounds.

The total of his losses amounts to two hundred four score & eight pounds ten shillings. The deponent saith that Richard Condon of Ballymacpatrick and Richard Condon of Ballydurgen in the said County gentlemen took away this deponents said Cattle & household goods & further he deposeth not.

1641 Deposition for Richard Peard (3)

I love the 1641 depositions. They were statements made by British residents in Ireland declaring what damages they’d suffered in the 1641 rebellion. It actually took several years for the depositions to be taken so despite their name, it might have been as late as 1655 before their losses were actually recorded.

They are a fantastic source of information about life in the plantations of Ireland. But there’s a good chance people fluffed up their holdings and their revenue in the hope of good compensation.

It looks from this deposition as if Richard Peard was a middleman. That is, he rented land from someone and rented it on to a tenant at a higher price. ‘Worth above the Landlord’s rent’ refers to the profit he received for renting it on. He effectively acted like a rental agent today.

As well as this, he had cows and swine and horses. Richard Peard was farming.

This doesn’t mean he wasn’t a soldier. He got the rank of Ensign from somewhere. But I’m not sure soldiery was his career.

The 1649ers

When Cromwell came to Ireland in 1649 he was in a weak position.

He had to do it, given all his political manoeuvring in England. He had to take Ireland back or at least make a good showing, but would he have negotiated if he really expected to win?

He issued a promise to the Irish soldiers. If you side with me, you’ll be rewarded with land.

This is how it’s recorded in history. I presume the promise was actually to the officers, not to all the soldier rabble, on the understanding that the common soldiers would follow their officer into whatever the officer chose.

The soldiers (officers) who changed their allegiance and joined Cromwell were hereafter known as the 1649ers.

After a few decades it became a badge of honour. Cromwell held to his side of the bargain and by 1652 those officers were indeed granted land reclaimed from the Irish losers. Some of their families became influential businessmen. In the modern world they’d be considered turncoats, but nobody seems to have thought of it that way in these days. They were honourable soldiers.

Some people think Richard Peard was a 1649er. It’s certainly possible.

But .. another practise at the time was the selling of entitlements. This meant that a soldier who was entitled to a reward for services could sell his soldier identity to a non-soldier.

This didn’t mean just selling his reward – he had to sell the rank with it, his uniform and sword – whatever he had that showed his position in the regiment. They didn’t keep records of individual soldiers, just the number of each rank per troop. So as long as the numbers and ranks matched nobody official would know if the Ensign’s surname was Smith or Jones. And if Ensign Smith sold his entitlement to Farmer Jones, Farmer Jones became Ensign Jones who just happened to have a farm.

I’ve found a fascinating article from 1847 about the 1649ers.

Fisheries in the Co. Cork, by Hibernicus, p.251, ‘Gentleman’s Magazine, Or Monthly Intelligencer’ (1847)

Did our Ensign Richard Peard buy his military rank to obtain land and riches? It’s very possible.

I’ll just add another snip from the same article. When he says ‘Some persons thus designated’ he means persons described in the 1641 depositions as ‘gentlemen’.

The author might be being unfair. It might be that a rewrite was made if the original was messy and the mark is placed because the deponent wasn’t present at this time. But each one was supposed to be an affidavit, accurate at the time of making, so it’s likely true that if a man made his mark, he was illiterate.

That said, Richard Peard’s mark was a perfectly formed letter R. A mark carefully taught to an otherwise illiterate man? Maybe.

All the same, it’s a healthy note of scepticism in a rarely questioned story.

Richard Peard of Coole Abbey, gentleman and eldest son of the Ensign, had every reason to encourage the story of respectable ancestry and venerable forebears. He was the proud possessor of an estate, and he was keeping company with men of good name and solid fortune. They looked after that property with great care and they held onto it practically forever. It took World War II to wrest it away from the family.

That said, they made some very advantageous marriages along the way.

Gentleman Richard is my 8th great grandfather. I’m glad he made enough of a splash to get into Burke’s peerage, but I also am not convinced that he descends directly from the Barnstaple goldsmith Peards. Perhaps they’re the same family a couple of generations back.

I’ll just have to see what records show up next.

Coole Abbey built 1765 by Ensign Richard’s great great grandson Henry Peard at the time of his marriage to Mary Gumbleton, on the Peard family land at Coole. (5)

(1) Niall C.E.J. O’Brien https://niallbrn.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/peard-family-of-north-east-cork-and-district/

(2) https://staigfamily.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/the-origins-of-the-peards-of-coole.pdf

(3) 1641 Depositions, Dublin University https://1641.tcd.ie/index.php/deposition/?depID=824111r099

(4) Fisheries in the Co. Cork, by Hibernicus, p.251, ‘Gentleman’s Magazine, Or Monthly Intelligencer’ (1847)

Moving the Blog House!

This is just a notification to readers that I am in the process of shifting to my own webspace. There’s a good chance you won’t even notice – as long as I manage all the steps in the correct sequence.

I’ve been very quiet lately because I knew this move was coming. As soon as the move is successfully made, I’ll be blogging again.

I’m setting up a redirect so you can keep coming here and will automatically find yourself there. But just in case I make a mistake, or if you wish to bookmark the direct site, here’s the new location.


I can’t wait to be back into the writing!

Irene (Historybylarzus)